Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Let Them Eat Cake

Yeah, I wish.  Cake is easier to make, well sort of.  Ok, not for me.  For me, cake is impossible to make as well as anything that is classified as a dessert.  Did you know that stressed spelled backwards is desserts?  For me it should be desserts (that I have to cook) spell stressed.

Last week Henry told me that for his French class today he needed to bring Mille-Feuille.  It's no big deal he said.  We could get it at Whole Foods he said.  Of course, I completely forgot about the M-F until yesterday when Hen reminded me about it.  Ok, no biggie.  I will call Whole Foods to make sure they have some handy & I'll pick it up & Henry can take it to school & we'll all be happy.

Because I'm writing about it, you already know that Whole Foods did not have any.  As a matter of fact, they looked at me like I had grown another head when I asked them about.  The bakers at WF had no idea what I was talking about.  Mille-Feuilles are also called Napoleons if you've every eaten them under that name.  OK, onto plan B, and I'm going to tell you, I don't like plan B.

Plan B entails me having to do a lot of precise measuring and mixing and cooking.  Bleh.  The band Foreigner, from the '80's for all you young people out there, always wanted to know what love is.  I'll tell you what love is, it's a homemade Mille-Feuille pastry made for a beloved youngest son.  If you've ever shopped at WF you know that it costs money just to breathe in the store.  I need a recipe, and it needs to be somewhat easy.  Thank you Google!  After spending $50 on puff pastry, heavy whipping cream, 2 vanilla beans and all purpose flour, we head for home.  I didn't buy anything else, just those 4 things.  Namaste.  Yeah, not!

2 Mille-Feuille cakes for
Henry's French class 
It's well documented that I do not follow directions in my cooking.  I just don't want to.  I like to be a rebel.  I like and need to break the rules.  It took me forever to make this dessert.  I was up until 11 working on it last night & then had to wake up early this morning to finish it.  (the pastry cream wasn't completely cool & was oozing out of the sides.)

After I looked at the picture of the recipe I have, I just realized that I layered it wrong.  Dangit!  I was going between a you tube video & my recipe & that's where I messed up.  At this point, I'm so not worried about it.  When people from different countries immigrate to the US, they Americanize their dishes anyway, so this is the American version of Mille-Feuille.

I'm hoping next time we get assigned eclairs or macaroons or how about a 2 liter drink?

Celebrating being done with my American Mille-Feuille!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

One of Those Mommy Moments

I've had some really heartwarming mommy moments this last week.  One in particular I have to share.

Now, I will admit that there are some songs we sing in church that I like better than others.  I like them all, but some just move my spirit.  I was in church with Elizabeth on my left & Henry on my right, and this song started to play.  It's one of my favorites!  My heart was so full, and then I looked out of my peripheral vision.

My most fervent prayer is that my children would have encounters with the Living God.  I pray that He would touch them and they would know without a shadow of a doubt that He loves them and wants a relationship with them.  I pray that they will choose to follow Him all the days of their lives.  I know He is faithful, and has already given me answers to more prayers than I can count.  

I look and my children are singing and worshiping and smiling.  How could my heart not be full?  How could my heart not feel so humbled by my loving Father?  To stand there with my heart lifted and hands raised in worship, I just felt such overwhelming love for Him.  It was a beautiful peaceful moment, and I am so thankful for it!

Celebrating Life!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Old Lady in the Room

UAB Sigma Kappa 2015 Colonization Class
Today was an exciting day.  It was one of those days that you celebrate the joys of youth.  It was the kind of day that old people watch and smile and remember when it was their turn to celebrate and be celebrated.

Today my sorority colonized a new chapter.  Sigma Kappa is now part of the sorority experience at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  I am so excited I can't even stand it. The young women in the room were beautiful, smart, enthusiastic and diverse.  A colonization class is special.  They are the trailblazers.  They will set the tone of the UAB chapter for years to come.  If what I saw today is an indication of this chapter's future...WOW, these young women are going to rock this sorority thing!

I was talking with all the alumnae in the room, and the really neat thing is, there was only one from my home chapter.  Alumnae groups are made up of women from all over the United States.  It's your love of your sorority that brings you together.  We were all talking about how contagious the new members excitement was.  While they were playing icebreaker and get to know you games, and laughing and cheering each other, it took me back to my pledge class.  (Back then we called ourselves pledges.)  My pledge sisters are some of the sweetest strongest ladies I know!  One alumnae texted her besties in her new member class just to tell them how much she loves and misses seeing them.  I miss seeing a lot of mine too.  Families & work sometimes get in the way.  ;)

As we were talking, I discovered I was the old lady in the room!  WHAT?!?  I thought I was 29, max.  My age snuck up on me!  OMG, I was the oldest in the room!  No wonder I was so nostalgic.  Just call me dirt, because apparently I'm as old as it is.  I can't remember when I've ever been the oldest, unless it's in a classroom or doing something else where I'm dealing with kids.  One new member made my day.  Because we were all still in our white dresses from the ceremony, she knew who the alumnae were, not that our grey hair or wrinkles gave us away. :)  She ran up and said "I need a selfie with each one of you!"  Um, I'm old enough to be her mom, and I'm not that cool.  But she insisted, so we all obliged.  It made the old lady in the room feel a little younger!

Elizabeth and I had a great laugh about my situation today.  If I didn't laugh, I would probably cry & life is too short not to take the good with you and check your age at the door.  And today was definitely a good day!  

Celebrating being young & young at heart!
Celebrating Life!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I'm Still Here

I just wanted to jot a few words down to let you know that I'm still here.  I know I haven't written in over a month, but don't worry when I do, it's going to be a doozie.

Just remember:  goats, shopping and a foreign exchange student.  Yikes!

It's crazy town over here, and needless to say, I'm the mayor.

Celebrating Life!
~ashley nance

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Senior Parents and the Stuggle

Can I say that I am happy I don't have a senior in high school this year?  I am.  It's emotional and stressful, and goes by way to quickly, and emotional.  I realized all of this when Hop was a freshman in high school.

I'm sitting on a somewhat toasty Monday night watching Hop play in a Freshman football game.  No one comes to the freshman football games but the freshman cheerleaders, and parents of the players and cheerleaders.  We were about half way through his season, and it hit me that I only had 3 more years to watch just about anything.  I voiced it to another mom & of course I started to cry.  I mean, yesterday he was going into 1st grade to be a Hooper Trooper & now he was in high school and time was blowin' and goin'.  Time continued to speed up as each year passed, and he left the nest, and hasn't looked back since.

Then Harry hits high school; a few years later Hop graduates.  Harry is a senior (I really think his year went by faster than Hop's) & Elizabeth is now a freshman.  Harry is now a college freshman & E is a high school sophomore.  When E is a senior, Henry will be a freshman.  Time, time, time.  How can I stop you from passing so quickly?

Don't get me wrong, I'm excited for my kids as they experience the last of everything.  It's just so final, and the older I get the more emotional I get.  I have always wished I could go back to my senior self & impress on her the importance of her lasts.  Did my mom feel the same about my lasts?  I don't remember.  I try to let my kids know how I feel, but am I doing a good enough job of it?  Do they understand the importance of each last thing they go through?

For all you moms & dads with kids experiencing the first of their lasts as school starts back, know I am thinking about you.  I know how hard it is.  I know how much you want to slow the clock to a stand-still.  (Or even better, make it stop for a bit.)  When your child's friends come over, let them be loud.  Let them watch movies, play video games, shoot pool and play ping pong.  If you have a pool, let them go swimming.  Let them eat you out of house & home.  If something gets broken, I hope it's fixable, and I hope you can laugh about it.  (I'll have to tell y'all the story of my mom playing chase & the mysterious broken banister another time.)  Love on your kids and their friends and their friend's parents.  Celebrate the wins & console through the losses.  Make it a year of lasts they will never forget.  And if you need to cry through it, go right ahead.  If you need someone to cry with you, contact me.

You can do this.  Is it hard?  Heck yes it's hard.  Your baby is growing up & are having to learn to let go.  But, be thankful.  There are many parents who never get to experience their child's lasts.  Their children didn't live long enough to reach that milestone.  So, hug'em tight.  Text them on the way to school how much you love them & can't wait to find out how their first last day of school went.  Walk alongside them through their lasts.  It's truly your last time to teach and correct while they are under your roof.

In 2 years I'm going to have to reread this because E will be starting the firsts of her lasts, but this year I'm in the clear.  I am content to be excited about the midway throughs and the firsts.  I love being a momma & wouldn't trade it for anything!

Celebrating Life & first of lasts,

Sunday, August 9, 2015

A Month of Changes

I has already been a very busy August for the fam, and we have had some pretty big changes around here in the first 9 days of the month.  But, I have a few questions first:

1.  I'm wondering why & when my children grew up.
I don't remember giving permission to.  I remember wanting them to become self sufficient, but not grow up and leave.  I realize it's a natural progression, but each time it happens I'm shocked it's here.  They leave when they are getting really fun, so it's kind of a bummer.

2.  I don't remember telling them they could age past 20.
Hopson turned 21 August 1st.  I don't know how that happened.  I distinctly remember being 21 yesterday, so how is it possible for me to have a 21 year old?  I asked my in-laws why they were so old.  ;)  They know I'm teasing.  I mean, if I can't be old enough to have a 21 year old, they aren't old enough to have grandchildren that old, right?

Can I tell you how quickly 21 year have passed.  In a blink of an eye fast.  I guess that's why the bible calls our lives a vapor.  Like I mentioned above, Hop just turned 21.  I can't believe that he is that age.  When I look at him I still see my little 2 year old buddy with his sunglasses on jumping into his car seat to go run errands with me.  Now he is a man.  A man that can legally drink alcohol...yeah, I can't be that old.  Right before we left for Auburn Friday, Harry came back into the house to grab his juicer.  He looked at me & said that Hop wanted to borrow it to make homemade margaritas.  You know, there are just some things a mom doesn't need to know & that is one of them.  Good choices please!

August 7th brought another huge change for the fam; we moved Harry to Auburn.  Yep, child #2 is now a college freshman.  I didn't cry while I was moving him in, because I was too busy sweating trying to get him all settled.  It was a normal summer day in the south, hot and humid! Luckily, I learned a few things after moving Hop in 2 years ago, so this move in was a little easier & Harry's room in his dorm is on the 1st floor.  Thank the Lord for little things!  I took him out to lunch & when we arrived at the dorm I jumped out of the car to hug him bye & then I cried.  And then I started praying...a ton!

Harry has been chomping at the bit since last August, so the fact his freshman year has already arrived has thrown me for a little bit of a loop.  I just thought he wouldn't be leaving so soon.  My little guy with a Buddha belly, is not so little anymore.  He's now starting to spread his wings.

I'm glad he and Hop have each other.  They will start off  seeing each other a lot.  Hop is Harry's pledge trainer, so I know he'll be pushed and taken care of at the same time.  It's amazing how your prayer life changes when the birds leave the nest.  Prayers for wisdom, safety, and that they remember that they can always call home if they need anything.  How I miss those 2.  We still have Elizabeth & Henry, but the house is just a little quieter these days.  It's just time marching on & it's weird.

Oh well, I can fight it or embrace it.  So I'm going to enjoy this ride we're on because it's fun to see how they grow up!

Always Celebrating Life!


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Dear Facebook, I Hate You

Dear Facebook,
I wanted to let you know how much I really hate you right now.  You have turned my country, state, and city upside down.  You have made enemies out of friends and ripped us in half, and left us bleeding out.  You have lawmakers removing historical monuments because someone screamed 'those are racist'.  The 'R' word scares the holy h.e.double hockey sticks out of people, and sometimes makes them think that by just removing a symbol we can take away the pain of the past.  Wrong.  A symbol is just a symbol & an individual is the only one that can give it any power.  Hate lives within a person not a thing.

To the leaders of our country, state & city:  FYI, this is a southern state.  FYI, we were part of the confederacy.  Does that mean we still believe in slavery?  No.  Does it mean that we believe in the segregation and exclusion that some people assign to this state?  No.  Does it mean we can learn from the mistakes of our ancestors' past?  Absolutely!  I need the southern confederacy  monuments up, so I can tell my children and grandchildren about the rocky past of the south.  I want them to know that the south was drenched in hate, but we make the choice to not carry that legacy anymore.  We have the power here and now to claim what was used for hate and turn it around for good.

This is especially true for my hometown.  What you see as a symbol of hate, I see as something that calls to all alumni and current students to be as one.  When you play one Rebel, you play us all.  And you know why I feel that way?  Because I've lived it more times than I care to think about.  There is something about this town.  We take care of our own and we serve others & each generation lives by that motto.  You ask any student that has had a parent pass away.  You ask any person who has had to face tragedy.  The children at the high school raised over 250K, in cash, for 2 different charities last  year.  These kids: bring food for food pantries; provide clothing and blankets and books for groups; build houses; help widows and the elderly; and log thousands of service hours together.  If one Rebel serves, you get us all.  We are drowning in this legacy, and don't rationalize it away, because it's part of who we are.  The adults in my community are examples of this legacy, because we model the behavior we want to see in our children.

If you don't like what I've posted, sorry, I'm not sorry.  You can go start your own blog and rant away.  If you can't agree to disagree, please say nothing.  If you like what I wrote, please say nothing.  You can send this to someone, but I want NO COMMENTS, from anyone.  These are my thoughts and my thoughts only.  This blog is where I come to get my thoughts in order.  I love my country; I love my state; and I love my city, but my heart is breaking and I'm tired of all the bickering.

I think we all need to be offended less and love more.  Worry about your own side of the fence and not your neighbors.  Instead of trying to tell them how they should believe, how about you just love them.  Love them for or in spite of their differences.  Stand up for what you believe, but be nice about it even if your neighbor is really showing their fanny.  Choose to be the bigger man.

Celebrating life and loving my city,